Updated: Aug 19
Below freezing temperatures and short grey days scream warm weather getaways. The weather across most of North American and Europe has us dreaming of sunshine warming our skin in January and February. From metropolitan Asian cities to quiet Caribbean beaches here are 11 destinations guaranteed to cure the winter blues.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Nothing drives the winter blues away better than the Mexican sunshine. The Riviera Maya is located south of Cancun and has miles of stunning beaches directly on the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea. Their reefs offer spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. History buffs will be intrigued by the Mayan ruins at Tulum. Zip lining over the jungles, visiting fresh water cenotes and exploring the inlands on four wheelers give you a completely different perceptive of this area, known for their beaches.
Riviera Maya is easy to get to with dozens of international flights daily into the Cancun International Airport. The best part of Riviera Maya is its affordability. The majority of the resorts are all-inclusive, bundling food, room and all beverages into one price. There are a wide variety of price points, offering something for every budget. Some of my favorite spots are Royal Hideaway near Playa del Carmen, El Dorado Seaside, and Fairmont Mayakobo. Check out the wide range of accommodations and pricing on Booking.com.
St. John, United States Virgin Islands
St.John is the smallest of the major islands in the United States Virgin Island group. St. John is 60% Virgin Island National Park, administered by the US National Park Service. The island's lush, volcanic hills are perfect for hiking. The beaches are some of the world's most beautiful. The beaches and sea life are also protected by US National Park. When diving and snorkeling, you can see turtles, vibrant tropical fish, nurse sharks, stingrays, tarpon, and barracudas swimming through colorful fan, brain and elkhorn coral. The people are friendly and welcoming. There is a good selection of restaurants offering a variety of choices. All these factors make St. John a delightful destination to escape winter. For accommodations in St. John USVI, check Booking.com.
For More Information on Travel in the St. John USVI, Check out these posts
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Singapore is a modern, clean, bustling city with towering contemporary buildings, exquisite food and fabulous shopping. Singapore has been a seaport and trading center since the 14th century. It became a British colony in 1819 and an independent republic in 1965. This is a long history for a tiny country covering only 280 square miles. Within those 280 square miles live people from all over the world, the majority sharing seafaring roots. This has created a population as diverse as the world. It is a country that was founded because the people embrace this diversity.
You see outward signs of different cultures in their food and architecture. You also see it in the respect that is shown for nature and for each other. It is a place where all faiths are practiced and multiple languages spoken.
Some of the most delicious food in Singapore is in their Hawker Centers. So what is a Hawker Center? Wikipedia says “Hawker centers were set up as a more sanitary option to street side outdoor alfresco hawker dining places. Instead of mobile food hawker carts, permanent stalls in open air buildings are provided for hawkers. Either common shared or stall dedicated table and chairs are provided for the customers. This concept totally eliminated street hawkers in Singapore.” Hawker centers are similar to food courts or food halls. They allow you to eat a variety of things by a variety of vendors. It is casual, relaxed and not expensive. Most of the vendors cook from recipes that have been passed down through their families for generations. Looking for an international urban adventure this winter, check out the accommodations in Singapore on Booking.com.
For more information on visiting Singapore, click on the links below.
"Nowhere on this planet is the desert as fascinating as it is in Arizona.” wrote Joseph Stacey in Arizona Magazine. Having recently returned from an Arizona desert adventure, I would heartily agree. With the glowing red rocks, the Saguaros towering over the Sonoran Desert , the Ponderosa Pine sky islands and the scent of Juniper and sage along the hiking trails, it is a stark yet intriguing place.
The food options are varied and absolutely delicious. We spent 7 days exploring the northern Arizona desert using Sedona as a base. We hiked everyday, tasted at several wineries and took day trips to Grand Canyon National Park and Jerome, AZ. Ready to book your trip to Sedona. Check out the accommodations available at great prices on Booking.com.
For more information on visiting Sedona click on the Blog Posts below:
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are a magical archipelago created from coral and geothermal activity. Most of these islands are very lightly developed. While Road Town on Tortola is a bustling hub of commerce, transportation and tourism, walking around Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke transports you back to the days of pirates. The steady tradewinds blow through, making these islands a mecca for sailors. Divers and snorkelers come from all over to explore the enchantment of their pristine reefs. Looking for accommodations in the BVI, check out the low rates on Booking.com.
For more Information on travel in the British Virgin Islands, check out these posts
The Florida Keys
Load up your inflatable paddle board and inflatable kayak and head out on a road trip to the Florida Keys. It had been 30 years since we visited the Keys and we were not sure what we would find. We were in search of "Old Florida," outdoor activities, and minimal crowds. What we found wowed and amazed us. We left planning our return trip. NO, we didn't go to Key West or Duval Street, but I do have a list of things to do in Key West when we visit, next time. YES, the sunsets are still some of the most beautiful you will ever see. We stayed in a very affordable AirbnB in Key Largo. Ready to book your trip, Booking.com.
For more information on visiting the Florida Keys check out these blog posts:
Thailand is one the most affordable Asian destinations. As part of a visit to Singapore, we planned a mid-week excursion to Coastal Thailand. We flew into Phuket Airport and immediately met our transfer to Ayara Villas in Khao Lak, about 45 minutes north of Phuket. Khao Lak is a peaceful seaside village, the opposite of the bustling and often crowded Phuket. It has international restaurants, water sports and a wonderful night market. After some beach time, a visit to the night market and a good night's sleep, we had a hotel pick up for our transfer to the Surin Islands.
Our main purpose in coming to Thailand was to snorkel the offshore Surin Islands, a remote group of volcanic islands about 60km from the Thai mainland. These islands and their surrounding waters are protected by the Mu Ko Surin National Park. This area is considered on of the 10 best dive and snorkel spots in the world. You have to plan your trip carefully because the park is closed from May 1 to September 1, during the rainy season. We used Greenway Tour Company to shepherd us through 4 snorkel spots and an overnight stay in bungalows on North Surin Island. For more information on the Thai Coast away from Phuket, click on:
With towering mountains, lush rain forests, and stunning beaches, St. Lucia is an idyllic winter destination. A visit to this tropical paradise can include, a relaxing beach day enjoying her sandy white beaches, soaking in the volcanic mud baths, ziplining through lush rainforests, sampling authentic island food and hiking through the countryside to stunning waterfalls. You will be able to explore abandoned sugar plantations, snorkel or dive in crystal clear waters, chasing brightly colored fish, or watch the Caribbean sky change from blue to orange to red at sunset. While relaxation was our primary reason for visiting St. Lucia, we did take a Rain Forest Jungle Tour that allowed us some spectacular views of the island and a hike through the rain forest.
St. Lucia has an international airport in the southern part of the island and a regional airport in the north. Because of distance and mountainous terrain, the ride from the international airport to your resort could be quite long. Consider a helicopter ride from southern airport to the northern airport or resort. The scenery is stunning as you fly over the mountains and rain forests. This adventure saves you time and gives you a bird's eye view of the island. Check out Island Routes for for information.
San Diego, California
San Diego is the quintessential Southern California city. With it's laid back lifestyle, friendly people and beautiful coastline, it is a great place to soak up some California vibe. The winters are very temperate making San Diego a lovely place to visit in the winter. There is no better way to get a perspective on all San Diego has to offer, than the 59 Mile Drive. This self guided driving tour shows you all San Diego has to offer. The route takes you through charming neighborhoods, past unique attractions and places where you can get sweeping, panoramic views of the city.
Wine tasting is a great way to learn about the area's growing regions. Temecula is about an hour drive northeast of San Diego and has outstanding options for winetasting. If you would prefer to leave the driving to someone else, try a Day Tour to Temecula.
Hiking is a joy in San Diego. The temperate climate and hilly terrain makes it an interesting yet comfortable place to hike. Coastal hikes are extra special because of the sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. I
In those waters each winter, more than 20,000 Gray Whales migrate from Alaska to the warm waters of Baja Mexico. This 10,000 mile plus trek is one of the longest migrations of any animal. The large kelp forests off the San Diego Coast attract these large mammals, making San Diego a great place to see them. Just another great reason to visit San Diego in the winter. A Whale Watching Boat Tour is the best way to see these majestic creatures.
Ready to book your trip to San Diego, check out the low prices on Booking.com. Some of our favorite places to stay are the Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado Marriott Resort and Spanish Casita a VRBO rental in La Jolla.
For more information on visiting the San Diego area check out these blog posts:
The Florida/Alabama Gulf Coast
From Gulf Shores, AL to Apalachicola, FL there are 232 miles of stunning beaches that are easily accessible from most mid-west, mid-Atlantic, and southern states. Beautiful beach towns like Perdido Key, Navarre Beach, Grayton Beach, Mexico Beach, and Port St. Joe; as well as bigger cities like Pensacola, Destin, and Panama City perch on the edge of the crystalline Gulf of Mexico.
There is something for everyone on this gorgeous stretch of the sugar white beach. There are five major reasons to jump in the car and head south. It's less crowded than the summer season, the weather is pleasant with highs in the 70's, the accommodation prices are lower, it is generally family oriented, there is lots to do besides the beach. Here are some of my favorite places to stay along the Gulf Coast: Phoenix X, Perdido Key, Alabama, Turquoise Place, Orange Beach, Alabama, Summerchase, Orange Beach, Alabama, Phoenix West, Orange Beach, Alabama, Belle Mer Navarre Beach, Florida.
Looking for lots of sunshine, head to Aruba. This desert island clocks the most hours of sunshine per year than any other Caribbean Island. This flat coral island has dramatic scenery including alabaster sand beaches, towering green cactus and limestone cliffs. Just your morning walk along the beach will take you by these magnificent sights. Looking for some adventure with your relaxation, try an ATV, Jeep or Horseback Riding tour. We did a wonderful Catamaran Snorkeling Tour on our most recent visit. Aruba offers a wide range of accommodations , check out Booking.com for the best pricing. We have stayed at the
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